Snarky Lawyer

What Counts as a “Speedy Trial” in a Misdemeanor Case?

October 21st, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Misdemeanor Crimes

When you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial to confront and challenge the prosecution’s evidence. Both the United States and Texas state constitutions make it clear that every person charged with a crime has a fundamental right to a “speedy trial.” But how “speedy” is speedy? And what happens […]

Read More →

Is “Necessity” a Possible Defense to a DWI Charge?

October 19th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Drunk driving is considered a “strict liability” offense in Texas. This means that your mental state is generally irrelevant. The prosecution does not need to prove that you intended to drive drunk. The state only needs to prove (a) that you were legally intoxicated and (b) you were operating a motor vehicle. Court of Criminal […]

Read More →

Can Prosecutors Prove Domestic Violence Even With Contradictory Eyewitness Testimony?

October 14th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Assault, Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence

Once police respond to a report of possible domestic violence, any evidence they legally obtain may later be used to prove that a crime occurred. This evidence need not include accusatory statements from the alleged victim. Indeed, even in cases where the alleged victim has denied–under oath–that any domestic violence took place, a judge or […]

Read More →

What You Need to Know About Texas Traffic Laws and Taillamps

October 12th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses, Traffic violations attorney, Understanding Texas Law

A broken taillight is often a pretext for police to initiate a traffic stop. Indeed, it is a traffic violation to operate a modern vehicle (one made after 1960) without at least two functioning taillamps. According to Section 547.322 of the Texas Transportation Code, the taillamps must be mounted on the rear of a vehicle […]

Read More →

How Can Prosecutors Prove Someone “Knowingly” Possessed Illegal Drugs?

October 7th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Drug Crime, Felony

To convict someone of drug possession, prosecutors must prove the defendant “knowingly” possessed the controlled substance in question. This can be simple to do if the drugs are found in the defendant’s coat pockets. But what if the drugs are recovered from an area where multiple people might have had access? Here, our Houston criminal […]

Read More →

How “Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity” Can Add Years to a Possible Sentence

October 5th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Gang Membership, Robbery

Texas prosecutors will often try and “enhance” a criminal case by charging the defendant with “engaging in organized criminal activity” or EOCA. This is the state equivalent of the federal RICO statute. It essentially enables the government to charge a defendant with participating in a criminal organization in addition to the underlying criminal act. An […]

Read More →

How Forgery Can Lead to Serious Jail Time–Especially If Other People Are Involved

September 30th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Forgery, White Collar Crime

One of the most common white-collar crimes is forgery. You probably understand the concept of forgery already. If a person, say, signs someone else’s name to a check and tries to cash it, that is a clear case of forgery. The legal definition of forgery is forging a writing “with intent to defraud or harm […]

Read More →

Do Police Have to Initiate a Traffic Stop Before Making a DWI Arrest?

September 29th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI, Understanding Texas Law

Many DWI arrests start out as a traffic stop. This means that a police officer first needs “reasonable suspicion” to initiate the traffic stop. If the stop itself was baseless, then any evidence of drunk driving subsequently obtained during the stop is inadmissible in court. That said, not all drunk driving arrests require a traffic […]

Read More →

Is Failing to Identify Myself to a Police Officer a Crime?

September 21st, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Falsifying information, Misdemeanor Crimes

Can a police officer stop you on the street and demand identification? In some circumstances, yes. Under Texas law, when an officer has “lawfully arrested” or detained a person, it is a misdemeanor offense for the suspect to refuse to give their name, address or date of birth. Similarly, it is also a misdemeanor for […]

Read More →

Will a Court Dismiss a DWI Case if the Arresting Officer Admits They Lacked Probable Cause?

September 16th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI, Understanding Texas Law

Normally, a police officer must have “probable cause” to arrest someone on suspicion of DWI or drunk driving. If the officer does not have probable cause, then the arrest is illegal. But can a judge determine probable cause existed even if the arresting officer later admits in court that he did not? This may seem […]

Read More →